Help with misbehaving pupil(38 Posts)
Hello, I am looking for advice on dealing with a pupil who is unconcerned with punishment or rewards for his behaviour, he just doesn't seem to care.
So he will start the day off by managing to bang into(on purpose) /hit, annoy other pupils, upsetting them. He will then mess about on the floor, often again hitting kicking them as he rolls on the floor. He will then throw items (pencils/rulers/rubbers) at them when he is at his isolated desk.
Basically he just cannot help himself annoying everyone around him.
So far I have tried, making sure he goes to the toilet alone as there was an issue of him hitting others in the toilets. He comes into class and I basically stand by him to monitor him getting changed, then he sits next to me in the carpet where I again monitor his hands and feet. He sits alone, and then when lining up, sits at his desk until all others are lined up and then joins me at the front or teaching assistant at the end of the line.
I have spoken to Mum, and she said 'time out' is being trialled at home, but to be honest I don't think she was being truthful.
She says removal of TV privileges doesn't work as child just finds something else to occupy himself with.
He is on a behaviour book with good and bad events written to go home daily, which has had little success. I have sent him for detention at lunches, I have kept him in myself at break.
I have said I will have to give him a buddy outside if he cannot behave.
I have asked why he does these behaviours, to be met with a shrug and silence.
I feel like anything I have tried, stickers, rewards/punishments/praise/disappointment voice/ table points, has had no effect as he just couldn't care less.
What else could I try? He was like this last year with his other teacher. I am 8 months pregnant and have 3 weeks to go and am at the end of my tether!
He told me today he really likes cars, so anything linked to that might help??
Sorry this was very long, please help!!
How old is he?
Read Ross Greene 'The Explosive Child'.
He can't have got many/ any friends. Sounds like he's got nothing to lose and thinks he's got nothing to gain.
Can you be his buddy at break? Find out more about what makes him tick?
Thank you for your reply, I will have a look at that book. He is six.
No his friends are starting to get thin on the ground as he thumps all of them.
I could become his buddy; but am reluctant to give up my hard earned break as at 8 months pregnant I need a rest from kids for 15 mins. I could maybe give him 5 mins at break and 10 at lunch, but I feel that is really eating into my prep/lunch time, which is short enough as it is. I feel I could only give him 'buddy time' with me if he has behaved other wise he will see it as a treat for when he misbehaves. "Throw pencils in class and get to have a nice chat with teacher at lunch" He already has to sit alone at lunch for burping in faces and messing about in dining hall. Honestly don't know what to do with him!
He's just not able to behave in the way you want right now.
I never think of supporting children with difficulties as rewarding them for bad behaviour. I really don't believe they think like that.
You sound like you have some good pre-emptive strategies in place, like having him close to you and so on. Can you increase those, especially for any transitions?
I agree, you need your breaks.
Banging into other pupils and rolling about on the floor could be sensory seeking behaviour.
What does the SENCO say?
Have you tried an individual reward system like earn 5 stickers (each given for a specific and explicit reason) and then ten minutes playing cars?
It is SO easy to give advice on this side of him. It's really really hard when it's your daily bread and butter (especially at 8 months pregnant. Hope you're keeping well).
He's crying out for attention. He doesn't know how to get attention positively or doesn't know what to do with positive attention. I'd put money on very low self esteem and being behind academically.
It is so hard but give him his own behaviour star sheet. Find something he really likes- computer time etc- and he can get this after 3/5/10 ticks (make it achievement).
It totally feels like enabling bad choices when the rest of them are sitting nicely and he's the one getting rewards but it can work.
SMT should also be closely involved with him and Mum.
If there are any sort of attachment/trust/family issues there he might be reacting to your pregnancy/maternity leave.
It's not easy with these kids- take care of yourself first and foremost.
I should have said he is already on a behaviour chart, in which he earns stickers for each block of the day. He earns 1 minute on the iPad at the end of the day for each sticker on the chart. He doesn't seem bothered about whether he gets 3 minutes or 13 minutes, actually have never seen a child so disinterested in everything!
Might try splitting the day up, so he gets the iPad sooner rather than having to wait until end of the day. Also might get some cars he could play with too. I am now beginning to wonder if there is a sensory issue, would I get Ed psych involved for an assessment? Yes, he does seem to be desperate for attention.
The first thing I wondered was whether he has SEN. If you can get him assessed that would be a good step. Have you spoken to the SENCO? Have a look at the SEND Code of Practice (section 6 or 5 if he is in early years)
...."Persistent disruptive or withdrawn behaviours do not necessarily mean that a child or young person has SEN. Where there are concerns, there should be an assessment to determine whether there are any causal factors such as undiagnosed learning difficulties, difficulties with communication or mental health issues. ..."
What does the SENCo think? I'm guessing these aren't new behaviours?
Is the classroom a bit overwhelming for him? I agree that sensory processing issues might be something to consider. Being on the floor definitely makes me think about that.
I would try very small, very frequent rewards. Something he can actually achieve.
Definitely make sure that you get some time out from him too - that's hard work with a whole class too.
I would get your TA meeting him at the start of the day and having a 'check in' time. They could sit together and have a talk about the day/what's going to happen.
Then, is there any chance of him NOT being isolated all day? I would[and have done this] make a reward chart where he has to earn 'cars'. So a car for sitting nicely during registration, a car for english, a car for maths.
Look ofr reasons to praise him-every little thing.
Give him jobs-get him sharpening the pencils, or tidying the book corner or any little thing. Praise him for this.
I know it's really really hard but he needs to build a really positive relationship with an adult in the class-if you're off on mat leave soon then make it your TA. See if she will spend a few playtimes playing cars with him or lego or something then if he starts to improve get another child to join in the game so he builds a more positive relationship with them too.
Definitely split your chart up. Make it really achievable. He'll be used to failing by now. Make him succeed. So the steps need to be tiny.
The rest of the class, mostly, will be fine with your normal behaviour systems. They probably don't need them at all, but that's another story. They won't resent him 'getting what he wants', not really. They'd rather be them, finding it easy to behave with a few reminders, than be him, struggling through every day.
Definitely split your chart up. Make it really achievable. He'll be used to failing by now. Make him succeed. So the steps need to be tiny.
A reward at the end of the day is too little
he needs a reward at break, a reward at lunch etc etc
Thank you for all your advice. I think he craves attention from anyone, both adults and peers but doesn't know the correct way to go about getting positive attention.
I could ask a TA to help at break/lunch times, and see if this would help.i think the idea of building up cars would help massively, I have some I could use tomorrow.
These behaviours are not new and I do think SENCO will need to get involved, as I don't want to think of him having a horrendous year when I leave for Mat leave.
I will speak to SMT about involving others to potentially get him assessed soon.
We had Sir John Jones in giving a motivational speech. His opening shot was that if after just a few short weeks you've "tried everything" you've not given any of the strategies a chance to work. A child needs a chance to see a consistent application of the expectations set. They won't see this consistency if strategies change too quickly. They need time to test the new boundaries and learn from what's been put in place.
I'd suggest picking a couple of things and stick rigidly to them until you leave. Make sure the new teacher is briefed and continues your strategies so he can see there is no wiggle room. So keep him near you for the ta. Have shorter goals that can be lengthened over a number of weeks. On good days give him 10 minutes to do car related activities at lunch either with you or some senior pupils. Be consistent. Also for some of the little disturbances try and ignore and model the good behaviour you expect.
Where is he in the pecking order at home? Is he fighting for attention due to older and younger siblings? Is he a much younger sibling that's been let away with murder and now mum's trying to reign him in? Getting an assessment by the ed psychologist might be a good idea and an assessment with the senco. Try giving him something to fiddle with - beads or a bean bag when you need him focused on the carpet.
So if the star chart isn't working there is no point in having it. He clearly isn't the kid of round peg that will work for and you are just setting him up to fail if you ignore that. It does sound like a sensory integration/processing thing. or some kind of anxiety related behaviour? It sounds like he is having a tough time all day every day - he will not be doing that by choice!!!! GP referral to physio? read up on sensory integration? there are some brilliant quick learns on understood.org to help you (and his family) understand the kinds of difficulties that children have that can cause them to find the classroom so hard to deal with.
The reason I'm asking is because we had a little girl last year trapped in a vicious circle. She would kick,bump into kids,throw things,annoy them, blow her nose in her hands and smear it everywhere etc. The more she did it,the more she was excluded, the more enraged she became and repeat. She didn't care about missing playtime because she was either excluded and sad or angry when kids would not play with her.
We first started to build her up in class. She was really good at maths so we gave lots of praise,used her as an example, get her to help others at her table. Then I(I'm a TA so out at morning and afternoon play)playing games with her that other children would want to join in. She started becoming part of a group,and she started caring about missing play. We kept working on playtimes until she did build up friendships with some of the kids. As the social side improved and she became "accepted" I was not needed at all and her behaviour improved as well.
It seems extraordinarily unlikely that this behaviour is "attention- seeking" for the sake of it. I'm sure I'll be shot down but IMO that seems to be a label we use to blame children for not being able to overcome their individual difficulties or disabilities when we (the adults) can't work out what support they need to flourish. you will both be far happier if you are able to see him as finding it too hard to (conform/comply/respect people's personal space/manage himself) and work from there
Some great suggestions here notsure. Agree with tiny steps and instant positive feedback. The fact that he's not bothered about iPad reward suggests that he needs adult feedback over objects. Behaviour charts for children with these kinds of difficulties generally don't work. Along with the check in, can I suggest that whoever greets him first thing, finds something good to say about him, 'that's a nice smile' or 'good walking' or some such. He needs to experience immediate success from the moment he arrives over your threshold. Catch him being good throughout the day. Tell him precisely what you are pleased about 'You sat with your hands in your lap beautifully. Well done' or 'I noticed that you lined up so quietly. Well done'.
Give him the chance to show how good he is at something. He may not respond well to public praise, so be careful. Sometimes it works better if the acknowledgement is done privately.
Be careful not to over do the talking or expression. Be almost matter of fact.
Another way to support him would be for him to have 5 minutes spent with you/TA just on your own, maybe doing a jigsaw or some colouring or sharpening the crayons. It doesn't have to be a big deal. Ask/tell him that you need some help with x,y,z. Follow his lead. He may not be able to manage 5 minutes at first. That's ok. Build up to it. It may be that he is checking you out, seeing if you are 'safe'.
Children want to please adults, even the really rough, tough, hard work ones. Unfortunately, some children enter school not having received enough support and guidance to be able to manage the expectations of a school day and without some kind of thoughtful intervention are destined to learn to fail.
The Thrive Approach is a programme based on Attachment Theory and current neuroscience, to enable adults support children at an appropriate developmental level, rather than a chronological age. Worth a look.
Rebel you sound lovely please can we clone you and put you in every primary classroom in the land The very best reward for any child is to be respected and valued - a genuine "well done" is worth more than any number of stickers on a chart - every child in the land knows that the stickers mean you are naughty. Just giving a child a sticker chart tells then that you think they are just as likely to disappoint you as not...
Some really helpful suggestions here, thank you all, I'm feeling more positive about my last few weeks now!
To the poster who asked how I am, thank you, I am struggling by day by day to be honest! Tired and sore bump and this child plus a few others in the class make it hard work, which I'm sure you can all relate to. Just counting down the days!
I think I will start by asking SMT for ed psych review and go from there, but in the meantime, try the suggestions of smaller instant rewards.
I will try to schedule in time to spend with him to find out more about him.
To the poster to asked about his pecking order, he has an older sister who seems lovely, and a Mum who seems a bit distant, and don't hear any mention of a Dad. Seems at home his behaviour is similar to school.
Fingers crossed these suggestions will work, thank you to all for taking the time to reply.
Rebel- I like your suggestion of making him responsible in class and building up positive relationships, this may well be exactly what he is looking for. Thank you.
Lots of good advice here. Also there is masses of free help and info about the Ross Green technique on his website . www.livesinthebalance.org.(not sure how to do links on a phone) His ideas are pretty revolutionary. He doesn't advocate punishment or rewards really just collaborative problem solving with the child. His key idea is that children do well if they can and that they usually want but just lack the skills. They need opportunities to practice those skills not constant reward/punishments. It is definitely worth a read. Lots of his videos on YouTube as well
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